Sequim businessman’s theft charge dismissed

by Sequim Gazette staff

A theft charge against Sequim businessman Anthony Cortani was dropped for the second time Aug. 4 in Clallam County Superior Court.


Citing limited prosecutorial resources and the inability to locate Cortani’s father and co-defendant William Cortani, Clallam County Deputy Prosecutor John Troberg asked the court to dismiss the organized retail theft charge filed June 9 after a lengthy police investigation.


The Cortanis were accused of carrying out the thefts of several flat-screen TVs from Walmart during the Black Friday shopping rush Nov. 26, 2010.


Sequim police said the Cortanis strategically stole the TVs by purchasing one then returning to the store with the receipt and taking another TV of the same kind.


Anthony Cortani pleaded not guilty to the charge June 29.


In his motion to dismiss, Troberg said it only makes sense to bring the case to trial if the two co-defendants could be tried together. Efforts to serve a court summons on William Cortani in Clallam County and in California have failed, he said.


“He is either purposefully evading service or is at an unknown location,” Troberg said. “The court has issued an arrest warrant for the elder Cortani.”


The charge was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it can be refiled in the future.


In an e-mail, Troberg said virtually all governmental agencies are being asked to do more with less, including the prosecutor’s office, law enforcement, public defenders and the courts.


“The responsible thing for us to do is to avoid separate, multi-day trials on Class C property crimes so we can focus on violent crimes against persons,” he said. “We should not be doing twice what we can do once.”


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